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:: Saturday, March 15, 2003 ::

Daily Hatbag
For some reason, this strip is the most-viewed one for the month of March thus far, apparently due to people running google searches for "finding a religion," or "finding my religion." I was about to say I hope it helps, but, no, really I don't. During the next big revamp of the Hatbag site (the one that incorporates Flash), I need to go in and start adding meta tags to the comic strips to make them more easily searchable.
:: David 10:51 AM [+] ::
Free Blog
Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
:: David 10:46 AM [+] ::
Et, Tu?
Beware the Ides of March.
:: David 10:44 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, March 14, 2003 ::
More Grit-inspired Blogging
I ate grits for supper tonight, at IHOP. They don't actually come with any meals, but they are available as a side item, and you can substitute them for hashbrowns. Since I saw an IHOP in San Francisco, it made me wonder if they would have had grits there. Does IHOP in fact sell grits internationally, or do they have regional menus that may or may not include grits?
And if that's the case, I wonder if there are any restaurant chains that have breakfast items they offer in some other places, but not in the South. I have trouble believing that there are American breakfast items that Southerners wouldn't eat. I mean, you don't see scones much here, but, heck, we'd eat 'em (I had some tasty scones just the other day, though they were prepared by one of my Yankee immigrant friends).
:: David 9:12 PM [+] ::
Enterprise Mission
According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, wing and landing door sections on the Space Shuttle Enterprise will be tested as part of the Columbia investigation. Without having ever flown, hanger queen Enterprise continues to be a vital contributor to the Shuttle program.
(BTW, that link is to a really interesting NASAexplores article on Enterprise, and her ongoing role in the space program.)
:: David 3:58 PM [+] ::
Expedition 7
According to CollectSpace today, the original Expedition 7mission patch has been discontinued pending the redesign when new crew members are assigned. Mine arrived in the mail today. If you're interested in getting the original patch, act now.
:: David 3:53 PM [+] ::
Return to Flight
By now, you've probably heard that NASA has assembled a "Return-To-Flight" team whose jop is to make sure that the Shuttle fleet is ready to fly again by fall (pending the results of the CAIB investigation). For more info, a PDF of Bill Readdy's letter is here.
:: David 3:48 PM [+] ::
Um, OK
So, according to AICN, Superman will be either Brendan Fraser or a complete unknown. I find myself rooting for the unknown (So does this make Brendan Fraser a challenger of the unknown?)
Also, Storm is Catwoman.
:: David 3:15 PM [+] ::
Who Watches The Watchmen?
Longtime Huntsville resident Peter Petroff died on Feb. 27. Among his many accomplishments, he invented the digital wristwatch (and outlived Douglas Adams).
Petroff also invented the first wireless heart monitor, the computerized pollution monitoring sytem, and telemetry devices for the world's first weather and communications satellites.
The digital wristwatch, BTW, was invented in 1969.
:: David 2:28 PM [+] ::
Cher, and Cher alike
When Cher gave her concert in Huntsville Tuesday, according to The Huntsville Times, after the first song, she started tearing off her clothes, revealing her fishnet stockings.
While this is apparently standard behavior at a Cher show, she usually waits until much later in the concert.
Explained Cher after her too-early stripping, "I took my pants off, and I don't normally do that until later in the show. But they started falling off, so I took them off. How cool am I?"
How cool, indeed, Cher, how cool, indeed.
:: David 2:22 PM [+] ::
Long Live The King
Since I now, sadly, apparently get my entertainment news from The Enterprise-Tocsin, I just now found out that at the Grammys (like three weeks ago now), B.B. King won two more Grammy awards, bringing his total up to 13.
One was a Traditional Blues Album award for his recent Christmas album, and the other was for Pop Instrumental Performance for his cover of the Macarena. I kid, of course--it was actually for "Auld Lang Syne," which I believe was on the Christmas album.
Later in the ceremony, when the Foo Fighters won a Grammy, one of the members, as they were walking off stage, turned to the mic and said, "Rock would not be anything without B.B. King." Lead singer Dave Grohl then returned to the microphone and added, "And I was gonna say that, too."
:: David 2:18 PM [+] ::
Daily Hatbag
I always try to tie the Hatbag of the day in with something else in my blog or in the news, so here's what I came up with for today.
:: David 2:14 PM [+] ::
More Trivia
For a whopping 20 blog points, what is the last name of the plumber Mario, famed from all those video games (I just learned this today, at Burger King no less)?
On a related note, I used to think Mario's first girlfriend (before he hooked up with that weird mushroom chick in the sewer world) was named Chivalry. In the instruction book to the original Donkey Kong for our old Coleco Vision system, it talked about the fact that Mario's girlfriend had been captured by Donkey Kong, but that Chivalry wasn't dead, so you needed to go save her. Having never heard that word before (hey, it was the 80s), I assumed that must be her name.
BTW, a magazine article I was reading recently revealed the origin of the name Donkey Kong (I had always heard the story that it was supposed to be Monkey Kong, but a typo had occurred). It turns out that the game's Japanese creator thought that the name Donkey Kong would convey to Americans "Stubborn Monkey."
:: David 2:09 PM [+] ::
Get Your Meet On
There was an interesting article in The Huntsville Times while I was gone about MeetUp, an online service that basically lets people build their own instant club. You go online, tell it things you're interested in and where you live, and it gives you a time and place for everybody with that interest to get together. I looked into meetings in H'ville for cartoonist and webcomic folks, but there aren't yet enough people here for a meeting (though Hunstville is currently like the second-fastest growing city for MeetUp use). We did have four people wanting to get together to talk about Tori Amos, though I think I may pass on that one.
:: David 6:58 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, March 13, 2003 ::
Space Bass
Is it any wonder Lance wants to leave the planet?
:: David 2:37 PM [+] ::
You WILL Play Ball With Robonaut!
The time has finally arrived! You can now buy your very own toy Robonaut.
Robonaut's cool and everything, but you halfway expect him to scream like a girl as he flies into a Sarlaac pit for some reason. I just can't put my finger on it.
:: David 2:33 PM [+] ::
More Trek
According to Shatner, Star Trek has lost its way.
:: David 2:26 PM [+] ::
Out There
Sometimes, The Onion is just too far-fetched.
:: David 2:03 PM [+] ::
The Grit-ty Truth
As promised, some thoughts on grits:
While I was in San Francisco, I kept an eye out at the restaurants I visited to make sure that none of them served grits, which could have been an interesting experience. As I suspected, none of them did.
Upon returning home, however, one of my co-workers who has family that lives in California said that while grits are not sold in restaurants there, it is possible to buy them in stores.
However, they are sold there primarily not as a foodstuff, but as an antkiller. It turns out that if you put grits out for ants, they will start eating them and not stop until they explode and die. I empathize completely.
That may explain why people in other parts of the nation don't eat grits. It's not because they don't know about them or don't like them, but rather because they fear this tasty, tasty breakfast treat, that once you start eating you lose all self-control under the power of its deliciousness.
My presence there probably did little to disabuse them of that notion.
:: David 12:41 PM [+] ::
This Week At NASAexplores
The two new articles on NE this week feature NASA's DC-8 airborne research lab, and first-hand accounts of living in space written by astronauts.
Check it out.
:: David 12:11 PM [+] ::
Daily Hatbag
Speaking of SEC probation, here's your daily Hatbag.
:: David 8:55 AM [+] ::
Mississippi State Faces NCAA Investigation
Ha, ha!
Actually, there's no point in laughing now, since once the NCAA gets going, they're going to find a reason to hit everybody in the SEC. No doubt our turn is coming.
Reminds me of my old joke about the last time Ole Miss got hit by the SEC back in the mid-90s: We couldn't go to a bowl game, we couldn't play on television, and we couldn't recruit good players. And then we got put on probation.
:: David 8:50 AM [+] ::
Marhall your RAM, see?
I've been meaning to feature a cartoon by The (Jackson, MS) Clarion-Ledger's very talented Marshall Ramsey here for a while, and I guess this cartoon is as good as any to include.
:: David 7:47 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 ::
Nemesis DVD alert
According to StarTrek.com, the Nemesis DVD, which comes out May 20, will feature seven deleted scenes. Just think: Your chance is almost here to see seven scenes somehow NOT GOOD ENOUGH to be in Nemesis. An impressive concept, indeed.
One of the scenes will feature the new first officer that was cut from the film. Says StarTrek.com:
"When Madden meets Picard and makes the faux pas of addressing him as Jean-Luc, we see a knowing glint in the captain's eyes that says, 'Ah, that Riker!'"
:: David 6:49 PM [+] ::
Chicken from China? The Chinese Chicken!
It's been three weeks today since I started this blog, and during that time I've generated more text than the New York Times staff does for their huge Sunday edition! If that seems hard to believe, it's because I just made it up!
:: David 3:21 PM [+] ::
That'll show 'em
Let no one say that people on Capitol Hill are incapable of decisive action.
Personally, I'm looking forward to going home tonight and sharing a "Freedom Kiss" with my wife.
:: David 3:09 PM [+] ::
Daily Hatbag
Hmmm... does nobody else see a similarity between this strip and 60 Minutes' idea for a Clinton/Dole segment?
I smell a lawsuit.
P.S. I love the smell of lawsuit in the morning! Smells like... bacon!
P.P.S. Does anybody smell pizza?
:: David 3:01 PM [+] ::
Science Data
Current scientific research could render the movie "Memento" obselete.
:: David 2:58 PM [+] ::
...Gathers No Mao
Space program or no, how can China expect to be taken seriously as a world superpower when they continue to do things like this?
:: David 2:25 PM [+] ::
Happy Birthday
Yesterday was the birthday of a good friend of mine in middle school, Elaine/Elizabeth Baath, whom I've had no contact with at all in over a decade. I've even tried searching online for any hints as to her whereabouts, but with no luck at all, which with a name as rare as Baath, is pretty unusual. So, I mention her here on the off-chance she'll come across it. If so, let me know.
:: David 2:20 PM [+] ::
The Hustler
Apparently, some fake copies of Vanderbilt's student newspaper, The Vanderbilt Hustler, were printed bearing a large front-page above-the-fold article about the death of the chancellor, which the chancellor denies has occurred, pretty convincingly. The Hustler's Web site denies any involvement.
(On a side note, a good friend of mine from high school, Jeremy Wells, served as editor of The Hustler in the early '90s, but I've since lost track of him).
:: David 2:16 PM [+] ::
Space Cowboys
Clint Eastwood will be producing and directing a movie about Neil Armstrong.
"I know what you thinking... do we have six minutes of fuel, or only five. The question is, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, Buzz?"
:: David 1:52 PM [+] ::
Columbia update
The CAIB now believes that multiple pieces of debris may have struck the Columbia's wing during liftoff.
:: David 1:44 PM [+] ::
I'm back
I'm back. Trip went well, and travel was safe. The return home was sort of eerie in light of Columbia, flying back home after completing my mission for NASA via a path similar to that taken by the Shuttle. Just kind of weird.
But, now, back to life as usual. Blogging may be a little light as I get caught up on some stuff, though.
:: David 1:43 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 ::
The Truth
How accurate are comic books? This man will tell you.
:: David 10:01 AM [+] ::
Daily Hatbag
A final tribute to the wonderful political insights I've encountered here in San Francisco.
:: David 9:46 AM [+] ::
Day Six--Homeward Bound
Not a whole lot left to say at this point. The convention is finished, we packed up our booth, ate, spent our last night in San Francisco. Today is basically just getting home, which I'm ready to do. I'll be packing the laptop up shortly, which means there likely won't be much new added today.
:: David 9:39 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 10, 2003 ::
So I just went and talked to the Lego guy, whose booth is right across from the Apple section, and asked why the computer-driven Mindstorm robot kits weren't compatible with Macs. As it turns out, they do have Mac software for the kits, but they only sell them as an educational product, not as a retail product (though apparently it's still possible for consumers to get them if you try hard enough). He did give me a little Lego Harry Potter figure that you can wear as a pin.
:: David 1:05 PM [+] ::
Just An Observation
People in San Francisco seem to be more opposed to a possible war than people back home, whose livelihoods depend on the milatary-industrial complex. That said, I'm gradually become more convinced of the merits of the pro-war arguements based simply on the arguments I've heard against it here. For example, I didn't realize that oil had been in any danger.
:: David 11:20 AM [+] ::
Daily Hatbag
Many forget that during its initial daily run, Hatbag was already on the forefront of interactivity.
:: David 9:57 AM [+] ::
The news this weekend was that the Columbia Accident Investigation Board now believes that plasma probably vented out of the left wheel well rather than into it, having entered the wing along the leading edge and then burned through to the wheel well and then out the bottom.
:: David 9:54 AM [+] ::
Day Five
Not much new to report. The convention really slowed down yesterday afternoon, with little traffic coming to our booth (or anywhere else). JoCasta and I fear it will be even worse today, with people who came in just for the weekend already gone, but maybe not. We've also kind of gotten to the point where we've done all we know to do in the area around our hotel and the convention center, but by the time we get out of the convention, don't really have time to go anywhere else. Part of the problem at the convention may have been our location. We were way in the back of the hall. Goddard Space Flight Center's booth had already been cleaned out, and the lithos they brought weren't nearly as cool as ours (of course, they may have brought less with them than we did).
:: David 9:49 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, March 09, 2003 ::
This week on NASAexplores
On NE this week are articles about how astronauts are able to phone home while they are on the International Space Station, and about how a proposal for future advanced rocket engines will use once more kerosene, a fuel used in the Apollo era but since abandoned.
:: David 10:47 AM [+] ::
Our Neighbors
The booth to the north of us is for the company that sells the Reality babies, the little electronic dolls that the give high school kids to show them what parenting is really like. The babies constantly require feeding, changing, etc, like real babies, and report neglect or abuse when turned back in. We are here representing American's space program, and yet we can't even begin to compete with them, since they have a crying baby.
:: David 10:38 AM [+] ::
I did get what very little Apple swag there was, but it was just some pens. I did get to talk to some of the Apple guys, which was cool, 'cause we formed a nice little mutual admiration society. I joked with one guy that morning that he and I could have almost switched place, and manned each other's booths for a while. Then it turns out that another guy I talked to from the Apple booth was just volunteering (I think most of them were). His day job: working at NASA's Educator Resource Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
:: David 9:39 AM [+] ::
Day Four
Well, more convention today. Yesterday went very well. We've been getting really positive responses so far. JoCasta got good reviews of her presentation. I've enjoyed the opportunity to not only tell about the site, but also proselytize for the agency a little as well. The lady at the booth next to ours was saying she didn't understand why we continued manned spaceflight, and so I was able to tell her about all of the benefits (sticking strictly to official party line, of course, if Alan, et al, are reading). At MSFC, Jo and I are CSC contractors, here, we are NASA, which is kind of cool. I wore my NE shirt yesterday, but the next two days, I'm wearing the meatball.

Thankfully, no one had asked for the "inside scoop" about the accident, or anything like that, though I did have one guy ask my opinion on the Mars conspiracy guys. Again, stuck with an official agency belief--Mars needs further exploration, and so that's why we're sending more rovers there this summer.

Not a whole lot else going on... other than that, yesterday was spent mostly shopping downtown (and eating).

More later.
:: David 9:36 AM [+] ::

According to the news today, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board has said that the fuzzy Air Force photo of Columbia during re-entry possibly reveals more than was first realized, and may actually give clues about "at least three things" involved in the accident.
:: David 9:29 AM [+] ::
True Grits
To the gentlemen who wanted an entry about grits, I'm still working on it.
:: David 9:25 AM [+] ::
Daily Hatbag
To the gentleman who wanted an entry on "flummox," I offer this: Why has no one made this movie yet?
:: David 9:25 AM [+] ::

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